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Photography by Kathryn Feldmann 

A Home that Mixes Modern with Classic

A spacious tree-lined street edges the sidewalk where a swath of green lawn leads up to manicured shrubbery that surround the home. The stylish white brick home beckons visitors to a front porch where rattan furniture with cream cushions provides a gracious outdoor sitting room. Plants grow from a white sculptured head and a pottery orb. A black metal roof adds a modern touch, and black trim around the windows offsets the crisp white siding to tie the color scheme together. 

Stepping inside, the neutral color palette continues — providing a backdrop for Jessica Durham’s gorgeous art collection. “I love art,” Jessica says as we talk about her decorating style, where she exhibits her knack to give classical pieces a modern touch. “I want walls to showcase my art.” Throughout her beautiful home that is filled with open but defined spaces, art plays a central role.

Envisioning her home
Jessica bought her small cottage-style home a decade ago. It spoke to her, and she saw the possibilities. As she walked through the house, Jessica sketched a design that encompassed going out the rear of the house with an addition and then going straight up to enlarge the second floor. Raising the roof gave the second floor a full level above the first floor — more space for bedrooms, closets and baths. Changing the roofline altered the architectural style to align with a traditional four-square that suited the lifestyle of her busy family. Mike Vanderpool with Noah Construction oversaw the renovation and gave great attention to every detail. 

The spacious rooms start with a classical living room that stayed in the same footprint of the original house. A painting of a surfer girl that hangs on one wall harkens to the four years the family lived in Hawaii. “I bought it because it reminds me of myself,” Jessica says. Although Jessica does not surf, she admires the bold determination of the surfer striding out of the water. 

Throughout the house, all new windows and doors are framed in custom molding that is routed with a flat edge to mimic the clean lines found throughout the house. Off the front hall, a doorway opens into a gorgeous white and gray kitchen. The cabinets, built by Steve Morris with Classical Design, convey a traditional look in two styles: glass fronts allow Jessica to display her beautiful dishes; panel-style doors provide storage. 

Design inspiration
Jessica inherited her creativity and passion for interior design from her mother. As she grew up, she watched her mother refurbish their home — repurpose old things, paint and reupholster furniture. When Jessica moved to Roanoke in 2008, she started working for friends and neighbors on small projects and quickly realized, “I couldn’t find things I was looking for.” Jessica and her mother, Lori Noonkester, who lives in Abingdon, combined their talents and Magnolia was born. They started going to market and finding reliable sources for lighting, furniture and art. 

Magnolia’s first retail location was a booth at Black Dog Salvage, then they opened a store in Abingdon. Ten years ago, they added a store at Piccadilly Square in Roanoke. Jessica plans her clients’ home projects as she does her own. She designs in a timeless, classic style so the house furnishings can be used for years. Her decisive nature means she buys what she likes and plans to keep it. “I buy things I love and throw them together.” It works. 

An eye for art
One of Jessica’s favorite paintings hangs in her kitchen. This vivid mix of pastels and bright blues, by Emily Ozier who signs her pieces EMYO, reflects Ozier’s artistic statement, “I believe that everyone’s home should be a haven of peace and beauty because where flowers grow, so does hope.” Jessica is one of 10 designers in the country that is allowed to sell Ozier’s art, and she feels proud to own some of it. 

Another interesting piece hangs in the downstairs bath off one of the two primary bedrooms in the house. Jessica chose a mirror to go over the sink that is a true work of art. A leather belt, complete with a metal buckle, wraps around the mirror to frame it, then it extends into a strap from which the mirror hangs. “Pretty much everything in this house is from a line that I sell,” Jessica notes. 

In the first-floor primary bedroom Jessica hung an original Meredith Sink over the bed. Sink is a local, mixed media artist. This colorful, funky portrait of a woman captures the spirit of the room. Jessica envisioned it bright and inviting; open, yet private. A tall order as the guest bedroom is between the kitchen and the family room. Jessica cleverly designed a long pocket door that closes for privacy. When the bedroom is not in use, the door slides back into the wall resulting in a cased opening that keeps the airy feel that flows through the first floor. 

In the upstairs primary bedroom, the colors of a Kim Bell piece echo the neutral wall, headboard and bedding colors. Benches and pillows add splashes of pinks and corals. “We sold a lot of Kim Bell’s work in our store in Abingdon,” Jessica explains. “This is another one of my favorite pieces as I like the style of the woman looking out the window.” 

Jessica adds a signature touch to each room through her unique light fixtures. Lighting is so important, and it offers an opportunity to make a statement while still being functional. From milk glass and gold sconces in the downstairs bath to milk glass and silver sconces upstairs, the lighting in each room is carefully chosen to elevate the décor. In the dining area, a beautiful chandelier of clear bulbs floats from black iron spikes creating a sculpture over the table. This fixture assimilates perfectly with the gold-shaded pendants that hang over the kitchen island. In the living areas and bedrooms, globe pendants offer lighting for reading while adding to the artful feel of each room’s personality. 

Although Jessica recently closed her retail shop after 10 years in business, she continues to concentrate on her design business. “My focus for now is my family and my clients,” she says. Her talent shows in the home she designed for her family as well as in the homes she helps others design. 

Jessica created modern lines and crisp neutrals with classic pieces, then she incorporates beautiful art. The combination offers the perfect setting to highlight each piece of art, to explore different mediums and to create an inviting home.  

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